Southampton-born middleweight Tom Watson has burst onto the scene in the UFC and marked himself out as a crowd-pleasing star who never knows when he’s beaten.

Watson was a regular presence on the UK scene, winning titles with Ultimate Challenge and BAMMA before being offered the chance to compete at the very highest level with the UFC.

After a razor-thin split-decision loss on his debut, Watson bounced back in spectacular style in his next bout, winning Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night honours in his victory over Stanislav Nedkov at Wembley Arena in February 2013.

Famed for his light-hearted entrances, granite chin and unbreakable will to win, Watson is one of the most popular MMA fighters to come out of the UK, and counts former undisputed boxing world champ Joe Calzaghe among his legion of fans.

Octo-facts: Eight things you need to know about Tom “Kong” Watson

  1. Watson’s nickname comes from his famous ring walks, which feature him wearing a gorilla mask.
  2. Another feature of his walkons is his eclectic choice of entrance music.  While most fighters opt for heavy metal, rap or RnB, Watson prefers to walk out to cheesy “guilty pleasure” music.  He’s used Chaka Demus & Pliers, Michael Buble and Another Level for his recent walkout music, and dances down the walkway in his gorilla mask as he heads to the cage.
  3. He trains in the United States with Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, alongside a host of UFC stars including current UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
  4. Watson has a background in amateur boxing, and is a three-time ABA Southern Counties champion.
  5. Watson was the undefeated, undisputed BAMMA middleweight world champion before moving to the UFC.
  6. During his time with BAMMA, he defeated former EliteXC world champion Murilo “Ninja” Rua and former UFC veterans Matt Horwich and John Maguire.
  7. Watson’s five-round battle with Alex Reid at BAMMA 4 attracted record viewing figures on former TV channel Bravo, and drew praise from former world heavyweight champ David Haye.
  8. He has a huge fanbase in the UK, including former super-middleweight boxing champion Joe Calzaghe and current Commonwealth light-heavyweight boxing champion Tony Bellew.